Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

Research Sponsor

Dr. James Sperling

First Reader

Dr. Ronald Gelleny

Second Reader

Dr. David Cohen


This examines the relationship between a country’s history and its actions on the international stage through the prism of the "strategic culture" theoretical framework created in works by Alistair Ian Johnston, Elizabeth Keir, Jack Snyder, and others. The central question of the study will be whether or not an understanding of a state’s past actions, rhetoric, and/or cultural obligations can provide an accurate predictor of future action and the primary thesis is that national “strategic culture” has a causal effect on national policy decisions. Towards this end, I have chosen to conduct a case study to ascertain the impact and validity of the “strategic culture” concept. A case study design will allow for a fine-grained examination of “strategic culture” and its effects in greater detail. The particular case that will be examined is that of Australia. The essay will begin with a literature review, then progress to analysis of various forms of primary evidence such as national security documents, speeches, and historical actions, and finally conclude with the presentation of any conclusions that can be drawn from the evidence examined.